I went out of town Thanksgiving week to visit relatives. Late on Saturday night, December 1st I received a text from Susan Blair, President of Pike Township Residents Association, saying she had passed by my office building last night and it was on fire. I texted the owner of the building, Dan Baldini, to confirm. He responded that it was true and see the email that he sent out. I had not gotten to my emails yet but when I did this is what I saw;
I asked one of my agents to take a picture of the front of the building and send to mee. This is what he sent;
My first thought was “OK, I am good. My office is on the first floor in the rear west side of the building.”
I returned home that evening to a postcard that said I had jury duty. Wonderful! I also had a new email from Dan;
Tuesday morning December 2nd, I decided to go see what my office space looked like. When I parked my car in the parking lot, I was approached by a man from the rehab company. He explained to me that I had to be out of the building by Friday. That meant moving everything that could be salvaged into a rented storage locker down the street.
When I entered the building there was no electricity. It was dark and the smell of smoke was almost unbearable. All the tenant’s office suite front door had been pried open by the fire department. The second floor, where the fire started, was blocked off for investigation reasons. As I walked down the long hallway past the lobby area, the floor was covered with water.
I walked into my office suite. The only damage I found was smoke damage and it was intense.
I spent three days packing what could be salvageable and left the rest for the rehab company to decide it’s future. Seventeen fabric chairs most likely will be tossed. You can’t get the smoke smell out of them. The desks will be assessed for smoke smell along with the computers and printers.
All twenty-two tenants have to vacate the building from anywhere from 6 to 12 months while the building will be gutted and rehabbed.
You really don’t realize the damage smoke can cause until you experience it. I took 6 boxes of personal belongings back to my house and now my house smells of smoke.
I decided to work out of my house for the next 6 to 12 months. My business has to continue. I will survive.
Predicting what it will cost to buy a house is very important for home buyers. The two biggest concerns home buyers have is what are the monthly payments and what is the down payment. Down payments can be tricky. Depending on your credit, any programs that you may qualify for, and down payment assistant programs, your best bet is to talk to a loan officer. (I have a list of loan officers that have been involved in my transactions and that I trust. Just ask me to send it to you.) As to the monthly payments, that can be estimated by a Realtor using calculator apps. My favorite one is Karl’s Mortgage Calculator.
By knowing the price of the house, property taxes, insurance costs, and the mortgage interest rate, you can estimate what your payments will be.
Some of the other nice features of the calculator are showing a table of what the balance of the loan will be every year.
It will also allow you to add-in homeowners association costs, show you what you will owe with principal prepayments and will show you what you can afford to buy with a given monthly payment.
As a Realtor, I find this tool to be very helpful for working with home buyers. It can be found on Google Play and Apple’s app store.
Yesterday was the Realtor Breakfast at Pike High School. I had attended several over the past years. It is a time when Realtors can become familiar with what Pike schools have to offer, which by the way, is amazing.
The Red Zone Cafe
This year it was held in the Red Zone Café which is a small restaurant run by students in the high school. The Café is a student learning program that provides a Culinary & Hospitality experience.
Superintendent Dr. Flora J. Reichanadter and high school principle Troy Inman spoke about all the things going on in the school system
I am somewhat familiar with Pike Schools because my son attended and graduated there in 1999. What I am always intrigued about is their STEM programs.
From a flyer that was passed out to Realtors;
Pike students have the opportunity to start their journey toward successful careers through a state-of-the-art Pike Career & STEM Center located at Pike High School. Programs that are offered include Cosmetology & Barbering, Culinary Arts, Criminal Justice, Emergency Medical Services, Heating & Air Conditioning (HVAC) and Health Sciences. Students will have the opportunity to receive college dual credit and acquire skills from experienced faculty. Students may also earn up to three high school credits per semester in selected courses that will apply towards their high school diploma. Work-based experiences apply to most programs.
After breakfast and updates from Superintendent Dr. Flora and Principle Inman, we were taken on a tour of the building.
What impressed me the most was the hands-on experience that the students get in STEM classrooms. I was fascinated by the HVAC classroom where students were all learning how these systems work and how to repair them. The classroom had actual furnaces and air conditioning condensers lined up against the back wall that were used to instruct the students.
The computer classes allowed the students to learn how to write computer programs and apps to go along with them. In one classroom we saw students working on the different parts of computers. We were told that when in school computers need repair, they can be brought to the classroom for repair. They will also repair computers from the community if brought in.
Want a haircut? You can get one at a very reasonable price from the Cosmetology & Barbering class.
We also got to see the CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) class, the Emergency Medical Services class, the media center, and the swimming pool.
When the tour groups interrupted the classes, the students were very disciplined and well behaved.
It seems that schools today must entertain students and train them for future endeavors.
Today’s high school classes are nothing like what my high school was like. Students can get vocational training and go right into a good-paying job.
Links to Website and Materials
Pike Township Schools Website
#PikeProud Newsletter – Week of 9-23-19
Pike Career and Stem Center_Program
2019 Profile of Excellence – MSD Pike Township
Career Center Advisory Board
Contacts and IDOE Data
Cosmetology-Barbering Service Menu
The Red Zone Cafe Menu 2019
1. Give your entry a new look. Did you know that houses with black front doors can sell for more money?
2. A well-groomed yard shows buyers that the home was taken care of.
3. Make sure all windows have been cleaned.
4. Clean out your garage. A clean garage will give the impression of more space.
5. Depending on the season, plant flowers.
6. Remove any lawn ornament that you will want to bring with you to your new home.
7. Greet buyers at the front door with a new welcome mat.
8. Make sure the street numbers on the house are visible. Paint or replace it if in bad shape.
9. Make sure all exterior lights are in working order
10. Power wash any outdoor surfaces to give them a ‘like new’ feel.
• 10 Tips to Make Your House Feel Like Home to Buyers
1. Get rid of distractions. A clean home will allow buyers to picture themselves in the space.
2. Make sure every room has a purpose. Giving it an identity will help buyers.
3. Open all curtains and let the light in. Bright rooms feel warm and inviting. Dark rooms feel small and gloomy.
4. Make sure no oblivious repairs are needed. If needed repairs are found, this gives buyers a reason to discount the offered price of the house.
5. Get rid of the clutter. Clean out closets, bathrooms, pantries and kitchen counters and drawers. This gives the impression of more space.
6. The top two things you can do to improve the salability of your house are new carpet and fresh paint. This will help sell your house faster and for more money.
7. Organize the kitchen. It is best to have nothing on the counters than to have them full of small appliances. Clean all countertops.
8. Make sure you empty all trash containers and hide any dirty laundry.
9. Make sure all doors and windows open and close smoothly. Fix any squeaks with lubricant.
10. Make sure all lights and switches work.
The top goal when listing your house for sale is getting the best possible price. These small projects above can help you meet that goal.
1. Concentrate on curb appeal – When a potential buyer drives by your house, you want it to be remembered. Make sure the lawn is cut, bushes are trimmed, and weeds are pulled, plant flowers if possible, and make your entryway warm and welcoming.
2. Be extremely flexible with showings – It’s not unusual in this market to have requests for multiple showings (and offers) in rapid succession. Once a property hits the market, people want to see it quickly. Flexibility and trusting your agent to have your best interests at heart are vital.
3. WOW, factor – Fresh flowers, gleaming windows, clean scents, soft jazz music in the background and well-staged touches are important to creating an enticing showcase of a home.
4. Inside temperature – Make sure during the summer that the air is on and circulating well. During the winter months, make sure the buyers feel the heat as they enter the house. A comfortable temperature will keep potential buyers viewing the home longer.
5. Price it right – While it is a seller’s market, overpricing right out of the chute will cause your home to sit on the market. Price it right and you could have the opposite reaction: multiple offers and bidding wars.
There are many ways to get your home sold today for top dollar and few if any, headaches. That’s were relying on a trusted professional comes in handy. I can make sure it is priced and photographed properly to make it stand out from the competition.